Pope Francis has called for an end to rampant consumerism and narcissism and urged global unity against Islamic militants, this Christmas.
In his Christmas Eve homily during Mass at St Peter’s Basilica, the pope said Christmas was to the time to “once more discover who we are.”
He said everyone should allow the child Jesus, born into poverty in a manager, to inspire their lives.
“In a society so often intoxicated by consumerism and hedonism, wealth and extravagance, appearances and narcissism, this Child calls us to act soberly, in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential,” said Pope Francis.
The 79-year-old Argentine pope said the child Jesus was calling on everyone to rethink the way they treat others, the Irish Times reports.
“Amid a culture of indifference which not infrequently turns ruthless, our style of life should instead be devout, filled with empathy, compassion and mercy, drawn daily from the wellspring of prayer,” he said.
On Friday, during his traditional Christmas Day “Urbi et Orbi” address from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope urged the world to come together to end the atrocities committed by Islamist terrorists.
After calling for an end to the civil wars in Syria and Libya, he said:
“May the attention of the international community be unanimously directed to ending the atrocities which in those countries, as well as in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa, even now reap numerous victims, cause immense suffering and do not even spare the historical and cultural patrimony of entire peoples.”
Security was tighter than usual at the Vatican this year, with counter-terrorist police discreetly patrolling the area.
The Irish Times reports that tens of thousands of people had to have their bags checked as they entered the Vatican area and had to go through additional screening if they wanted to enter St. Peter’s Square.
The pope condemned the recent “brutal acts of terrorism” that have taken hundreds of lives.
“Only God’s mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst,” he said. “The grace of God can convert hearts and offer mankind a way out of humanly insoluble situations.”
He also called for peace between Israelis and Palestinians in the area where Jesus was born.
“Where peace is born, there is no longer room for hatred and for war. Yet precisely where the incarnate Son of God came into the world, tensions and violence persist, and peace remains a gift to be implored and built,” he said.
The pontiff said that the human dignity of many people around the world was being trampled on.
“Even today great numbers of men and women are deprived of their human dignity and, like the child Jesus, suffer cold, poverty, and rejection,” he said.
“May our closeness today be felt by those who are most vulnerable, especially child soldiers, women who suffer violence, and the victims of human trafficking and the drug trade.”